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Saturday, 14 December 2013

Medical problems in Hall

As many of you know, in addition to being your Warden at Connaught Hall, I am an accident & emergency doctor at University College Hospital. This often leads to residents asking me for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment here in Hall.

With two small exceptions, I do not provide a medical service for Connaught Hall residents.

It can perhaps be a bit confusing or disappointing for residents when I say I cannot help with their medical problems ("But, you are a doctor, aren't you?"). So I hope this blog post will help explain why in most cases I am unable to diagnose or treat medical problems in Hall.

First, those two exceptions:

1. I can help with minor first aid problems like bruises, cuts, and burns in the same way that a first-aid trained layperson can.

2. I will provide an enhanced level of care -- as a doctor -- in immediately life-threatening situations such as a very severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis).


I will not, however, take a proper medical history, perform a physical examination, take any tests, nor prescribe any drugs in my capacity as your Warden. I will be just as likely as any of the Senior Members to advise that you see your GP or attend hospital for proper medical attention.

This is why:

1. The University of London does not insure me to provide medical services. That means that if I make a mistake and you suffer harm as a result, you would not be able to claim compensation from an insurance policy - you could only claim against me personally, which unfortunately will not get you very much compensation!

2. A doctor cannot -- in most cases -- reach a safe, accurate diagnosis without performing a physical examination. But for me to do that would normally step over the line of acceptable physical contact between a Warden and a student resident. The University would not support me in doing that.

3. Furthermore, when I see patients in my hospital job, I have access to tests and diagnostic measures such as X-rays, ECGs,  and blood tests. It would be wrong for me to try and "guess" what is wrong with you without these tests.

4. In many cases when a doctor examines a patient, we will have a chaperone present for the protection of both the patient and the doctor. I do not have access to a chaperone in Hall.

5. Your GP has the benefit of access to your previous medical notes, which can be vitally important in making a correct diagnosis or deciding on the correct treatment plan. I do not have access to your medical history.

6. When you consult a doctor in hospital or a GP surgery, details of what happened will be recorded for future reference on your medical file. I cannot make entries in your medical notes from the Hall.

7. The General Medical Council requires that doctors in the UK must always keep contemporaneous medical records on every patient encounter, and communicate what happened in every encounter to the patient's primary care provider (usually their GP). I do not have the resources to do that in Hall, so I would be at risk of breaking my profession's rules of conduct.

Having said all of that, one last thing I can sometimes help with is in providing very broad, general advice about drugs you might have been prescribed by your doctor (i.e. how they work, how long it might take to get better, etc) or -- again -- broad and general information about medical conditions. But I must stress that I cannot provide private medical consultations in Hall.

Christmas dinner speech - 13 December 2013

It's only 11 weeks since I last stood up here and welcomed you to the Hall.

Yet already I see not 200-odd individual, slightly anxious school leavers in front of me now, but a community of -- mostly -- mature adults.

Three things -- friendship, respect, and celebration -- have enabled that transformation. And those three things -- friendship, respect, and celebration make a perfect theme for a Christmas speech. But this one will be mercifully short.

I hope the friendships that you're making here will help sustain you through the rest of your life.

I hope the respect you learn for your neighbours here will help you always to see things from others' perspective. For that is the foundation of the tolerance and forgiveness that our world so desperately needs.

And I hope the way we can celebrate so many diverse things together here will be a model that you can demonstrate to others when you are the ones teaching, managing, or leading.

But I know that studying at university and living away from home is not easy. This term has actually been a very busy one for me with welfare and pastoral issues. So I hope that all of us here can help to make this hall community a source of encouragement, strength, and support for those who are going through tough times. They need us to show them friendship, respect, and celebration.

But I'm missing one last thing that our community ought to show: thankfulness. Before I close, then, let's join together in saying a very big thank you to the people who put on so many of those celebrations: your Residents Club Committee. A big thank you to the catering staff who have worked incredibly hard today. And finally, a big thank you to all the people sitting around you for making this our home...

I wish every one of you safe journeys this holiday season and a wonderful Christmas and new year.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Cannabis & smoking

A handful of residents have received a personal communication today about suspected cannabis use in their area of the Hall. Whilst we have identified a few areas where we need to exercise particular vigilance, some of the information in that letter is relevant to everyone in Hall:

Cannabis smoking seems to be a much more prevalent problem this year that it has been for a long time. Section 8 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 requires me as Warden to take action where I have reason to suspect that controlled drugs are being used illegally within the Hall: I commit a criminal offence if I allow this to continue. 

It can be difficult to pin down exactly which room the smell is coming from. I do not want to see a situation where members of staff are knocking on everyone’s door until they find the culprit: for at this stage, I consider such action to be unduly intrusive for everyone concerned. So, for now, the cleaners have been instructed to be extra vigilant for signs of smoking and cannabis use, and to report all suspicions to me. The Senior Members, likewise, will monitor for signs of cannabis use on their daily duty rounds. 

If you are in the great majority of residents who do not smoke or use cannabis in Hall, then I urge you to exert what peer pressure you can to discourage smoking on your corridor and by your friends, and to report to me (in confidence, of course) if you know who or suspect is responsible. 
If you are not using cannabis in Hall, you can stop reading now; if you are using cannabis, please read on. 


If you are smoking in Hall and/or using cannabis here, please STOP immediately.

Consider the following:

1. The Intercollegiate Halls of Residence Licence Agreement prohibits both smoking and the use of cannabis:
9.5 You must not take part in any illegal activities.
9.6 You must not use illegal drugs.
9.7 All the halls operate a strict non-smoking policy which includes the interior of the accommodation and covers the balconies (where applicable) and the courtyard areas in some halls. Please check the individual hall handbooks for confirmation. For avoidance of doubt, smoking whilst leaning out of windows is not permitted.

2. The Connaught Hall Residents’ Handbook includes this warning:
Drugs & discipline: Unauthorised possession and use of controlled drugs is illegal and is a serious disciplinary offence.

Residents using or possessing illegal drugs in Hall, or allowing others to use or possess them in Hall, are liable to be dismissed without notice and may have the matter referred to their college or to the police. Any guests will be required to leave immediately.

Anyone found to be supplying drugs in Hall will be reported immediately to the police and required to leave the Hall within 24 hours.

3. The Law: Cannabis is a Class B drug in the UK – it is illegal to possess cannabis or supply others – and you can still be arrested for possession.
The penalty for possession is up to five years in jail. Supplying someone else (which includes giving it away to friends) can get you fourteen years and an unlimited fine.
If the police catch you with cannabis, they’ll always take some action. This could be a warning, a reprimand, a formal caution, a fixed penalty or an arrest and possible conviction. A conviction for a drug-related offence could have a pretty serious impact. It can stop you visiting certain countries – for example the United States – and limit the types of jobs you can apply for.

4. The Residents’ Handbook warns against smoking in Hall:
Smoking damages paintwork, furniture, curtains, and carpets. If we find evidence of smoking in your room, an extra cleaning charge of £50 will be deducted from your damage deposit.

Cigarette smoke can set off the smoke detector in your room. Anyone who causes a false alarm in this way will be interviewed by the Warden.
YOU MUST NEVER COVER YOUR SMOKE DETECTOR.

Covering smoke detectors is a criminal offence and seriously jeopardises our fire safety arrangements and the lives of all our residents. Breach of these rules will constitute serious misconduct as defined in the Licence Agreement. Sanctions may include expulsion or a fine of up to £250.

5. Cannabis smoke has a much greater propensity to set off the fire alarm than does plain tobacco smoke.


6. Some health facts about cannabis from Frank:
  • Cannabis can cause feelings of anxiety, suspicion, panic and paranoia.
  • Regular cannabis use is associated with an increase in the risk of later developing psychotic illnesses including schizophrenia.
  • Regular use makes it difficult to learn and concentrate; research has linked cannabis use to poor exam results. This is a potentially serious risk if you’re young, when the brain is still developing. People who take a lot of cannabis can also find they lack motivation.
  • Smoking cannabis can make asthma worse, can cause wheezing in people without asthma and can lead to lung cancer, coughs, chest infections, and heart disease.
  • Frequent use of cannabis may affect fertility.

7. I see drug use as a health & welfare matter, not purely a disciplinary issue. If you are concerned about your own or a friend’s drug use, either in Hall or elsewhere, please approach me in confidence. If you come to me genuinely seeking help, I will offer the confidential support you need in a non-judgmental way. If, on the other hand, we “catch” you using drugs, I will pursue a serious misconduct investigation.


As always, please contact me if you have any questions or concerns about this or any other matter.



Contact details of organisations that can help with information, advice, and treatment for drug and smoking-related problems

NHS CHOICES & NHS 111
High quality information about health conditions both online and over the telephone
111
HELPGUIDE
“Helps you to help yourself with health challenges”

TALK TO FRANK
The National Drugs Helpline
0800 77 66 00
DRUGSLINE
Support, counselling and information about drugs
0808 1 606 606
SMOKEFREE
NHS help to stop smoking
0800 022 4 332
LONDON NIGHTLINE
Student volunteers offering telephone support
020 7631 0101
MIND
Support for people with mental health problems
0300 123 3393

CENTRE FOR ADDICTION & MENTAL HEALTH


Sunday, 6 October 2013

Seconds rules for the dining hall

A few supplementary notes for our dining hall about what happens for "seconds" just before the servery closes.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

ABC party last night

Last night's ABC - "anything but clothes" - party was great. Thank you to the outgoing members of the Residents' Club Committee for their hard work in organising the event (and blowing up all those balloons!). I know Beth Hughes, David Haughan, Charlie Axelsson, and Imi Jerome helped a lot with setting up on the day, as well - so thank you all. Will Kay did a really good job as our DJ and got people on the dancefloor earlier than I've ever seen at a Connaught party before!

Thank you also to everyone who attended: this party had a super atmosphere, very friendly, and there were no serious problems all night - that's down to all of you. 

I hope you all enjoyed the party. Look out for our next events coming in October / November.

Fire drill report 04/10/2013

Thank you, everyone, for a smooth fire drill yesterday evening. About 150 people evacuated in under 6 minutes (all but two of those in under 5 minutes), which is a good time and certainly means we don't have to run another drill this term.  Everyone's alarm  and all the fire exits worked normally. 

There were just two areas where we could do better:


1. Use alternative stairs & exits

Please remember to use the staircases at either end of your corridor as well as the main staircase in the middle. In middle-of-the-night evacuations, when everyone is sleepy in their pyjamas, the middle staircase can get congested and have people backed up like a snake all the way up to the second floor. That won't happen if you use the alternative exits.  

For example, if you live in rooms x01 - x06 or x42 - x48 (or thereabouts - it's slightly different between floors), use the north staircase all the way down to the basement, then use the fire exit out to below street level and up the steps to the street. 

Or if you live in rooms x23 - x35, use the south staircase and exit at street level through the side door.


2. Cross the road for the assembly point

The evacuation assembly point is on the pavement outside Passfield Hall, which means crossing that small road to get off the block that Connaught is on. This is based on advice from the police and fire brigade about the risk of flying glass from broken windows, and explosion risk. We have had at least 5 bomb threats that I can remember in the last 16 years. There were never any bombs, thankfully, but we have to make our evacuation plan suitable to keep you all safe from explosions as well as fire and smoke. So do remember to cross the road and stand outside Passfield Hall. 



There will be another drill in the spring / early summer, in order for us to meet the requirement that we have two per year. But as you've seen, we warn you in advance if there is going to be a drill; so if you hear the fire alarm again, you know for sure that it's not a drill (except if it rings for less than 10 seconds at 1pm on a Wednesday, when we test the system).

Thank you again for helping us with yesterday's drill.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

October update

Dear resident

It's been a busy few weeks in Hall and there are a few more things coming up in the next week or so. I thought it might be useful for you to have an update on everything in one place.


1. Residents' Club elections - 08/10/13 

At dinner time on Tuesday 8th October, you will be able to elect five new representatives to the Residents' Club Committee. The people you choose will organise many of the social events in Hall this year, run the bar, and spend up to £6500 of your money - so listen to what they have to say and what they are going to do for you. At the time of writing, only two residents have put themselves forward for the election. If fewer than five people stand, there will be no election and those who have nominated themselves will be appointed automatically. More of you must have ideas for how we can make this year amazing for everyone: stand for election and share your ideas; if you get enough votes, you will be able to put them into practice! Visit election.connaught-hall.org.uk for more information about the Club and the election, and to nominate yourself. My "letter to candidates" tells you exactly what's involved, and what you can expect from us in return. Or speak to me, a Senior Member, or one of the outgoing members from last year's Committee. The deadline for nominations is midday on Saturday 5 October: it's an automatic system that will close at exactly midday. 


2. "Anything but clothes" party - 04/10/13 

Friday night is our freshers' ABC party in the bar, 8pm till 2am (bar serves alcohol until 1am). You are invited to be creative with your outfit and wear absolutely anything - except clothes. Maybe some photos of previous ABC parties at Connaught will provide you with inspiration: flickr.com/photos/connaughthall/tags/anythingbutclothes

As you can see, it's totally fine if you want to come to the party in actual clothes: we'd rather have you there in clothes than not there in not-clothes! 

As with all our late parties, you may sign in a maximum of two guests for the duration of the event (8 till 2). 

Please try and keep the party confined to the bar and Bell room so that residents who don't want to attend the party are not disturbed. I regret that we strictly cannot allow any "after-parties" in bedrooms or corridors after 2am, and we must keep noise outside the front of the Hall to a minimum so our hotel & residential neighbours don't complain and stop us from having more parties in future. 


3. Fire drill - 04/10/13 

Weather permitting, a fire drill will be held on Friday evening.

When you hear the fire alarm: 
Evacuate the building immediately.
Close all doors and windows behind you.
Leave by the shortest route.
Do not use the lift.
Assemble on the pavement outside Passfield Hall on Endsleigh Place.

Follow the green exit signs to find your nearest escape route. Hall staff will help you. Remember it is possible that there may be a real fire alarm on the day, so for your own safety never ignore the alarm because you assume it is a drill. Your Licence Agreement obliges you to participate in fire drills. If the total evacuation time is too long, more fire drills will be held over the next few weeks – so don’t let everyone else down! 


4. Have you taken some good photos of our freshers' events? 

We love our photos at Connaught. If you have any shots you're proud of from any of our welcome events (afternoon teas, grand bar opening, welcome dinner, speed meeting, or of course from tomorrow's party), I'd be really delighted if you sent me some that I can upload at photos.connaught-hall.org.uk or at instagram.com/connaughthall. Email me one or two pictures at warden@connaught-hall.org.uk, send me a link to your photos on your own Flickr, or ask me about lending you a memory stick if you have lots to share. 


5. Join the Facilities Committee and/or Multicultural Students' Forum (McSF) 

I posted a message about how to join these committees a few days ago: democracy-feedback-and-student

Both committees meet three or four times a year for about an hour. If you haven't been on a committee before, it will be good experience of how meetings work. And whatever your level of previous committee experience, your input to making Connaught Hall better for everybody will be greatly valued. Please follow the instructions in my previous post and join up as soon as possible if you're interested. 


6. Room swaps

I have been asked frequently about room swaps in the last few weeks. If you are thinking about asking for a room change, please take note of the following advice from our Residents' Handbook:

Requests for room swaps are dealt with exclusively by the Reservations Office based at ULU, and will only be considered after the middle of October when everyone has moved in: email info.halls@london.ac.uk. 
We regret that the staff at Connaught Hall cannot approve requests for room swaps.
The Reservations Team are the best people to answer all your questions on this subject, including things like "are there currently any empty rooms?" or "is there anyone who hasn't moved in when they should?". I regret that the Senior Members and I do not routinely have access to the information that would allow us to give you an accurate answer to these questions.


7. Access [H]all Areas 

This private, invitation-only online social network for the intercollegiate halls of residence was new this year. It already has almost 800 members so it's a good platform for sharing ideas for sports meet-ups, outings, and clubs, especially where there may be benefits in the numbers gained from getting more than one hall involved. 

If you're not already a member, sign up with this link: uol-halls.ning.com/?xgi=3KprrvqzHofzOa - and remember to join the Connaught Hall group on the site!

Do remember to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, as well: tweets.connaught-hall.org.uk and facebook.connaught-hall.org.uk.


8. Last reminder to check the Residents' Handbook! 

Our Residents' Handbook can be found at handbook.connaught-hall.org.uk.

It is long, so we don't expect you to read every page in detail. We do very much expect you to read the sections on noise and fire safety, and strongly advise you to have an idea of the contents pages, so you can dip into those bits that interest you now, and know what information is available for you to refer back to later in the year if you're not sure about anything.

So, one last time: please take a look at our Handbook!

Welcome to your dining hall

Pretty much everything you might want or need to know about the dining hall and catering service in one poster - http://flic.kr/p/gkEYte

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Welcome speech - delivered at dinner on 1st October 2013

Hello everyone. If we haven't met already, I'm Adrian, your warden here at Connaught hall.

I hope you’re enjoying your food. Let’s thank our kitchen staff.

Now, some congratulations are due...

Due to all of you, in fact. You have arrived here, in London, at Connaught hall, to begin or to continue studying at one of the best  universities in the world. Well done:  you must not undervalue your own achievement in getting here.

Thanks  are also due to Chris, Becca, Christopher, Georgina, Daisy, and Emily of the outgoing Residents' Club Committee for the brilliant freshers' programme they put together for us.

We all want the academic year that lies ahead to be your best and most successful year so far.

You're in the right place for it: Connaught has a reputation as being the happiest and most social hall in London. I hope you have already found yourself calling Connaught  your home, and if home is where the heart is, that Connaught will take to your heart as it has to mine.

We can call ourselves successful if we can look back and say that this year we have deepened our understanding of ourselves, contributed to the happiness of others, and learned a little more about the rich diversity of our world and the people we share it with.

In order to do this, we need a safe, secure home environment. The Hall Management team strive to make the building comfortable. Harriet is our Hall Manager and can help you with anything to do with your room, common areas, bathrooms, catering, safety, maintenance, and cleaning. You can see Harriet and her team in the office behind reception.

While the Management team look after the building, as your Warden, I’m here to look after the people who live here: to help you enjoy your experience this year, to support you through any tough times or difficulties, and to promote a social, cohesive, supportive community spirit. Five student Senior Members help me. This year, they are Bill, Jing, Joe, Vikki, and Zack.

I am a specialist A&E doctor at University College Hospital, and the Senior Members are full-time students, so we are mostly available in the evenings and at weekends. I can offer confidential listening and support for absolutely anything that impacts on your wellbeing. No problem is too big or too small. Email me, ask for a chat, or come to one of my advertised open office sessions.  

For help in emergencies, a Senior Member is on call every night and all weekend. You can contact them by asking at reception, and they can call me, if they need to, any time of day or night.

There are a few things that will unfortunately guarantee this year is neither your best nor your most successful.  The most common one is noise. The most serious one is fire. I’m not going to harp on about negative things tonight, but please, please take a few minutes this week to read the sections of the Residents’ Handbook about noise and fire safety. It’s really important. Please remember to take a look.

Let's get back to how we can positively make this your best and most successful year...

Everyone in this room is bright, intelligent, thoughtful, and uniquely interesting as an individual. We can all make a valued contribution to our hall community.

You can contribute in a formal way, by getting elected to the Residents Club Committee, or joining the Facilities Committee or Multicultural Students' ForumThere are posters and Facebook posts up right now about how how to get involved in these. The deadline for all of them is within the next week or so, so check the noticeboard in reception tonight if you haven't already seen these.

Or you can contribute in a thousand different ways informally.

  • Set up a club or society - jazz, chess, movies, art, whatever interests you. 
  • Have a regular lunch date for anyone to join. 
  • Organise a trip to a museum or tourist attraction. 
  • Pick up litter in common areas. 
  • Bring your friends to the hall bar. 
  • Set up a pool tournament. 
  • If you spot something that's broken, report it.
  • If you see potential for improvement in something, tell me. 
  • Encourage people to recycle. 
  • Tell your neighbours in a friendly way if they're being too noisy. Or report it to me if it's a frequent problem. 
  • Support your friends if they're feeling upset, sick, or lonely. Tell me if you're worried about them. 
  • Share your hobbies and interests with us. 
  • Encourage and promote respect for everyone, regardless of their faith, culture, disability, colour, gender, sexuality, politics, or social class. 
  • Challenge prejudice. 
  • Ask questions. 
  • Donate books to the library when you don't need them anymore. 
  • Or simply turn up at events.


In all these ways, and many more, you can make our hall and our community better; help others to do well; and give yourself something to be proud of.

We are only one or two weeks into the year. Many of you will still be feeling some sense of homesickness, loneliness, or even culture shock. Most of you will still be anxious about whether you will make enough friends, or the right sort of friends, or whether your degree is the right one for you. All these feelings are normal and most will resolve themselves over the next few weeks. I hope our programme of welcome events has already helped you to work through some of your worries. If you need more support, remember that's exactly what I am are here for.

Together, let's build a community that will see us all through the year ahead. This hall is a great place to live. Make it your home. Make it special. Make some great friends.


Now, without further ado, let's raise a toast to your best and most successful year!


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Those four really important pages of the Residents' Handbook....





Monday, 30 September 2013

Democracy, feedback, and student involvement: the Facilities Committee, Multicultural Students' Forum, and Residents' Club Committee

Join the Connaught Hall Facilities Committee and/or Multicultural Students' Forum (McSF)! 

Unlike the Residents' Club Committee, there are no elections to be a representative on the Facilities Committee or McSF.


Facilities Committee

We need six student reps on the committee. Members meet with hall staff and contractors to improve the facilities and services in hall, such as catering, cleaning, maintenance, and security.

Email facilities.committee@connaught-hall.org.uk ASAP with your name and room number to join.

Visit http://www.connaught-hall.org.uk/pages/facilities/facilitiescommittee.html for more information. If more than six residents apply, we will choose six names randomly.


Multicultural Students' Forum
We need student representatives from any and all cultures, religions, countries, and backgrounds to act as advisors to the Warden, Residents' Club, and Hall Management on matters of interest to international, overseas, and ethnic minority students. Everyone is welcome (including white British "home" students): all that's needed is that you share the ideals of the McSF.
Follow this link for more information: http://www.connaught-hall.org.uk/pages/community/mcsf.html
You can join the McSF mailing list at the link above. If you are on the mailing list, you will be invited to meetings of the McSF three times a year. Our first meeting will be in October, so make sure you sign up ASAP!


Residents' Club Committee
Remember there will be elections for five Officers of the Residents' Club Committee on Tuesday 8th October. For more information, and to stand for election, visit http://www.connaught-hall.org.uk/pages/community/clubelections.html.

Nominations close at midday on Saturday 5th October.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Alcohol licensing and under-18s at Connaught Hall bar

This letter was sent to all residents aged under 18. All residents should note that it is also an offence to attempt to purchase alcohol for or on behalf of a person under 18. 

I am writing to you about the bar because you are aged under 18 years, which means that English law prohibits you from purchasing alcoholic drinks, and prohibits others from purchasing alcoholic drinks for you, on licensed premises including the bar here at Connaught Hall.

You are very welcome to use the bar to socialise, play pool, and buy soft drinks, but I must ask you not to attempt to buy alcohol there, nor ask your friends to buy alcohol for you, until you are 18.

The relevant law is the Licensing Act 2003, which includes these provisions:
146 Sale of alcohol to children

(1) A person commits an offence if he sells alcohol to an individual aged under 18. ...

149 Purchase of alcohol by or on behalf of children

(1) An individual aged under 18 commits an offence if — (a) he buys or attempts to buy alcohol, ...

(3) A person commits an offence if — 
(a) he buys or attempts to buy alcohol on behalf of an individual aged under 18, ...

You are committing a criminal offence if you try to buy alcoholic drinks from the bar. Your friends commit an offence if they try to buy alcohol for you. We commit an offence if we allow either sale to take place.

If the bar breaches these rules, it is very likely that it will be closed down – by the police, by the licensing authority, or by the University of London – all of whom have the right to inspect the bar at any time. We have been inspected three times in the last four years: so it really does happen.

Please do not put our bar at risk by attempting to purchase alcohol there. Photographs of all residents aged under 18 have been circulated to the bar staff and Senior Members, and they are very clearly instructed to refuse the sale, which may be embarrassing for both you and them. Regrettably, I must warn you that if you are found drinking alcohol within the bar area, you will be required to leave; a second offence will result in you being banned from the bar and formal disciplinary action being commenced under Schedule 3 of the Intercollegiate Halls Licence Agreement. Similar consequences will ensue if bar staff report to me that they frequently have to refuse you alcohol.

I am sorry to have to write to you so sternly within your first few weeks in Hall – but we have had some problems with underage residents recently when they were refused alcohol at the bar.

There is some good news, though: we will buy you and one friend a drink (bottle of beer or cider, 175mL glass of wine, or single spirit with mixer) on your eighteenth birthday! You simply have to visit the bar on the day of your birthday, with this letter, your passport or driving licence, and your friend.

Thank you for your help and understanding; and I hope you enjoy that drink!


Friday, 13 September 2013

To all residents moving in this weekend

Welcome to Connaught Hall!

We have organised a few events over the next couple of weeks to help you meet one another and the staff in Hall. The first is on Sunday 15 September: tea & cakes in the reception lobby, 2.30 till 5.30 pm. Check the posters in Hall, and find us on Facebook and Twitter for details of all the other things we are putting on for you.

It is with great regret that I now find myself unable to join you for all of this week’s afternoon tea. I unexpectedly have to provide night shift cover as the doctor in charge of University College Hospital accident & emergency department (UCH A&E, where I work when I am not doing Warden things) all weekend. But I will do my best to make it to the last half hour or so of afternoon tea.

So I am sad that I shall not get to meet so many of you this weekend, but there will be lots more opportunities for us to meet in the next few weeks, including our curry night on Tuesday and more afternoon tea events every Sunday in September.

I hope you enjoy your time here at Connaught Hall and that this year is happy, safe, and productive for you.

Please get in touch in you have any worries or questions.


Sunday, 25 August 2013

FAQ: Landlord references and references from the Warden / Can you give me a letter for the bank to prove my address?

I'm renting privately in my second or third year and my new landlord or agent wants a reference. Whom do I contact?

Landlords want to know that you paid your accommodation fees on time and that you did not damage your accommodation. The Hall management office have a template for landlord references that means they can easily put this information into an email or letter for you. So just email info.connaught@london.ac.uk and they will help you with the reference you need for privately rented accommodation.


I need a character reference for employment or volunteering work. Can the Hall help?

Some types of character, personal, or employment references may need to come from me (as Warden), which I am happy to provide so long as you have been involved in a role within the Hall that has allowed me to form enough of an opinion about you to be able to write a few reliable paragraphs about your personality and character. Otherwise, your college personal tutor may be able to help you.



FAQ: (August/September) problems with offer letter / contract / passport photos / personal details form

My college has told me I will be offered a place at Connaught Hall but I haven't heard any more. What should I do?

Your college will have told the intercollegiate halls accommodation reservations office to send you a formal offer of accommodation. We at Connaught Hall won't know anything about you until early September.

So if you are worried that you haven't yet received your formal offer of accommodation, please contact the intercollegiate accommodation office at info.halls@london.ac.uk. They should be able to help you.


I've heard that some people got sent a personal details form to fill out and return, but I don't have one. Do I have to return one? Where do I get it?

Again, all this information comes from the central accommodation office. Look out for an email from info.halls@london.ac.uk and if you haven't received a request to return a personal details form, and it's less than a month to go until you move into the Hall, contact the accommodation team at that email address.


Which room have I been given?

The accommodation office make and change room allocations right up until the move-in date, so we cannot normally tell you which room you will be allocated until the day you arrive, unless you have a disability that means you need to be given a particular room or type of room. If you have any questions about this, again, you should contact the accommodation team at info.halls@london.ac.uk.

For more information about room allocations and swaps, see here: http://connaughthall.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/faq-room-swaps.html.


Do I have to send passport photos? Where to?

We need three passport-typephotographs of you at least two weeks before you arrive in Hall, so that we can have your Hall ID card made and ready for you to pick up on your arrival date. 

Without your Hall ID card, it will be difficult for you to get past security each time you enter the Hall, and you may not be able to take meals in the dining hall, request packed meals, or borrow items like the vacuum cleaner, games, or table tennis bats.

Please send your three passport-type photos, with your name written on the back of each, to the Administration Office, Connaught Hall, 36-45 Tavistock Square, London WC1H 9EX. 

Or you can email your photos - so long as they are the right size and shape - to info.connaught@london.ac.uk. Remember to include your full name in your email.


Can I arrive earlier than the date / time shown on my offer letter?

Please see this post: http://connaughthall.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/faq-arriving-earlier-than-datetime.html.

FAQ: Arriving earlier than the date/time shown on your offer letter or contract

Can I arrive earlier than the date shown on my offer letter?

We can usually agree to an earlier arrival date, up to one or sometimes two weeks before the standard arrival date on your offer letter. Availability is not guaranteed, however.

If you want to arrange an early arrival, email Housing Services (info.halls@london.ac.uk) and carbon copy your message to the Connaught Hall management team (info.connaught@london.ac.uk), clearly stating your full name and preferred arrival date.


When can I move in on the day?

Our official check-in time is 2pm. This is to ensure that your room has been cleaned following the departure of any B&B guests or other students who may have left that morning.

If you are arriving on the standard arrival date indicated on your offer letter, it is most likely that your room will have been empty for several days before you move in. So we can usually let you move in from around 9am on your check-in date. However, your room is not guaranteed to be available and clean until 2pm. If you want to be sure about whether you will be able to move in earlier than 2pm, please contact the Hall management team a week in advance of your arrival: info.connaught@london.ac.uk.